Roasting the perfect juice bird
Roasting a turkey can be a little intimating.
With all the advice you may git from the well meaning older family members. That think that Turkey should be cooked cooked in to a dry mouthful of dust that without a gallon of gravy and a cranberry sauce you could not get it down.
There is a meth that the longer you cook it the more tender it is. When the more you cook a turkey the dryer it is.
Bringing is the way to go,
Moisture loss is inevitable when you cook any type of muscle fiber. Heat causes raw individual coiled proteins in the fibers to unwind—the technical term is denature—and then join together with one another, resulting in some shrinkage and moisture loss. (By the way, acids, salt, and even air can have the same denaturing effect on proteins as heat.) Normally, meat loses about 30 percent of its weight during cooking. But if you soak the meat in a brine first, you can reduce this moisture loss during cooking to as little as 15 percent, according to Dr. Estes Reynolds, a braining expert at the University of Georgia.
Brining enhances juiciness in several ways. First of all, muscle fibers simply absorb liquid during the brining period. Some of this liquid gets lost during cooking, but since the meat is in a sense more juicy at the start of cooking, it ends up juicier. We can verify that brined meat and fish absorb liquid by weighing them before and after brining. Brined meats typically weigh six to eight percent more than they did before brining—clear proof of the water uptake.
Another way that brining increases juiciness is by dissolving some proteins. A mild salt solution can actually dissolve some of the proteins in muscle fibers, turning them from solid to liquid.
Of all the processes at work during brining, the most significant is salt’s ability to denature proteins. The dissolved salt causes some of the proteins in muscle fibers to unwind and swell. As they unwind, the bonds that had held the protein unit together as a bundle break. Water from the brine binds directly to these proteins, but even more important, water gets trapped between these proteins when the meat cooks and the proteins bind together. Some of this would happen anyway just during cooking, but the brine unwinds more proteins and exposes more bonding sites. As long as you don’t overcook the meat, which would cause protein bonds to tighten and squeeze out a lot of the trapped liquid, these natural juices will be retained.
- 12 cups water, divided
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sage
- 2 tablespoons thyme
- 2 tablespoons rosemary
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- 4 cups ice
- 8 cups cold water
- 2 cups apple cider
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 Bay Leaves
- 1 turkey breast, fresh or frozen, thawed (5 to 6 pounds)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, slightly softened
- 1 teaspoon Thyme
- 1 teaspoon Rosemary, Crushed
- 1 teaspoon Sage, Rubbed
Fresh or thawed turkey, conventional oven, lowest oven rack.